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Rosh Hashanah 4

ROSH HASHANAH 2-10 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that if a person says, "I hereby give this money to Tzedakah in order that my child be healed" or "in order that I merit a share in Olam ha'Ba," he is considered a complete Tzadik and has fulfilled the Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah perfectly. How can he be considered to be performing the Mitzvah perfectly if he is doing it in order to receive reward? That is not a perfect fulfillment of a Mitzvah! The Mishnah (Avos 1:2) says, "Do not be like a servant who serves his master on condition to receive payment!" How can the Gemara call such a person a "complete Tzadik?"


(a) TOSFOS in many places (see TOSFOS DH Bishvil) explains, based on the Gemara here, that it is only when the person concedes to give the Tzedakah in any event, whether or not the child recuperates, that he is considered to be a complete Tzadik. He is going to give the Tzedakah anyway, and he just appends to it a prayer that in the merit of giving Tzedakah his son should be healthy. That is not considered serving one's master in order to receive payment. The Mishnah in Avos refers to one who does the Mitzvah *only* for the purpose of receiving reward.

(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ suggests that the Mishnah in Avos, which says that a person should not serve his master with intent to receive payment, does not mean that it is a *bad trait* to do so. There is nothing wrong with serving Hashem in order to receive reward. It just shows that the person has not yet reached the level of being a Chasid, someone who does the Mitzvos only in order to do the will of Hashem with no ulterior motives. When the Gemara says he is a complete Tzadik, it means he is only a Tzadik -- he is not yet a Chasid.

(c) The TUR (YD 247) says that although normally it is prohibited to test Hashem by saying that one will do a Mitzvah to see if Hashem will reward him for it, it is permitted to test Hashem when it comes to Tzedakah by saying that one is giving Tzedakah in order to see if Hashem will reward him for it. If so, the Mitzvah of Tzedakah might be an exception to the rule expressed in Avos that a person should not serve Hashem in order to receive reward. Here, it is permitted to test Hashem since the reward is certain (Hashem promises to give reward to those who give Tzedakah; see Malachi 3:10, Devarim 15:10). Therefore, perhaps he can be called a complete Tzadik even if he gives Tzedakah in order to receive reward. (RAV ELIEZER LANDAU, in a note printed in the Vilna Shas on Tosfos here, DH Bishvil. The TUR, when he says this difference between Tzedakah and other Mitzvos, does not say it in the context of explaining our Gemara.)

However, the BEIS YOSEF and the REMA there point out that in Maseches Ta'anis (9a), which seems to be the source for the Tur's words, the Gemara implies that not all types of Tzedakah will result in a reward. Only with regard to the Tzedakah of Ma'aser given to the Levi does Hashem promise to give a reward. The other Acharonim agree to them on this point, as cited by the Pischei Teshuvah. If so, this will not suffice to explain our Gemara, which is not discussing Ma'aser.

QUESTION: The Gemara says that if a person says, "I hereby give this money to Tzedakah in order that my child be healed" or "in order that I merit a share in Olam ha'Ba," he is considered a complete Tzadik, a "Tzadik Gamur."

Even if giving Tzedakah in such a manner is considered a righteous act, how can the performance of a single good deed make a person a "Tzadik Gamur," cleansing him of all his sins and making it as if he fulfills the rest of the Torah?


(a) RASHI here says that he is a Tzadik Gamur "if he does this often" ("Im Ragil b'Kach"). RAV YAKOV EMDEN writes that Rashi's intention is to answer this question. The person who gives Tzedakah often, using every excuse as another reason to give Tzedakah, shows that he must really be a Tzadik Gamur. Such a person turns directly to Hashem whenever he is in need. Since it is so clear to him that everything comes from Hashem, he is certainly a Tzadik Gamur.

(b) RASHI elsewhere (Bava Basra 10b, Pesachim 8b) offers a different explanation. He says that a person who gives Tzedakah in this manner is a Tzadik Gamur "in the performance of this deed," meaning that he performs this Mitzvah of Tzedakah in the best possible way. It does not mean that the person himself is a Tzadik in all other matters.

(c) RABEINU CHANANEL here cites those who explain that the Gemara does not mean that the person is a Tzadik Gamur, but rather that the act is one of "Tzedakah Gemurah" (or "Tzedek Gamur"). The Gemara is saying nothing about the person, but only about the act itself, and it is teaching that such an act of Tzedakah should not be looked down upon, for it is a perfect act of Tzedakah. This is also the explanation of the TOSFOS HA'ROSH and the ARUCH (Erech Tzedek) in the name of Rav Moshe ha'Darshan.


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